Being Over 50 means we don’t have to worry about Sexually Transmitted Diseases, right? So there’s really no reason to practice safe sex, right? Wrong and wrong!
The good news is that Over 50’s are really sexually active. The bad news is that puts us at risk for HIV/AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydial infection, genital herpes, hepatitis B, genital warts, and trichomoniasis (a parasitic infection).
Many of us ignored the explosion of the “safe sex” concept since we were in (hopefully monogamous) marriages. And now, as DO50’s, having missed out on that indoctrination and not burdened by pregnancy fears, many of us are not practicing safe sex. Which is resulting in surprisingly high rates of STD’s among Over 50’s. In fact, according to the CDC, 16% of new HIV/AIDS cases involved people Over 50.
So what’s the best course of action? According to this article from WebMD, it’s about educating Over 50’s to change their behavior. For instance, one sex educator who hosts a monthly gathering for women Over 50 urges them to ask their partners to prove they’ve been tested for STD’s. She suggests condom use until they’ve seen clean test results, and it’s been three months of monogamy.
This article from AARP says that Over 50’s may be more susceptible to STD’s due to underlying health issues, and that if you get one it’ll only make that condition worse. It also stresses the need to get tested, suggesting that doctors routinely offer testing to their older patients to relieve them of the stress of having to ask. As one doctor says, medical professionals should stop making assumptions about a patient’s sexual activity based on their age, and offer screening to everyone.